Arcadia University Names First Head Coach of Women’s Ice Hockey Team

The Arcadia University Department of Athletics and Recreation announced this month that it has hired Horsham native Kelsey Koelzer as the women’s ice hockey program’s first head coach. Koelzer assumes the role on October 1st and will begin recruiting for the team’s inaugural season in 2021-22.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to be named the first Head Women’s Ice Hockey Coach at Arcadia University,” Koelzer said. “I would like to thank Brian, Assistant Director of Athletics Michael Hebenstreit, and the entire search committee for putting their faith in me and giving me an opportunity of a lifetime. To represent such an amazing university, all while helping the development and growth of the sport as a whole, is a dream, and I’m extremely excited to get started on this new challenge.”

“Kelsey’s name resonates locally and nationally in the world of women’s ice hockey,” said Brian Granata, executive director of Athletics at Arcadia. “In addition to being a top-tier player, Kelsey has a passion for coaching and mentoring individuals. Her desire to grow the game of women’s ice hockey, and specifically to do so in her hometown region, is infectious. We are very excited to see our program develop under her leadership and feel that her deep connections to the local area will help us significantly as we launch our program.”  

Koelzer graduated from Hatboro-Horsham High School, Koelzer and went on to play Division I collegiate hockey at Princeton University. She was a three-time, First-team All-Ivy League honoree and the university’s first First-team All-American. She was named Ivy League Player of the Year in 2016. In 2016, the team won the Ivy League Championship and earned a trip to the NCAA national quarterfinals.

After the 2016 season, Koelzer was selected for the United States National Women’s Ice Hockey Under-22 team and was a United States Olympic tryout participant a year later. In 2016, the Metropolitan Riveters made Koelzer the first-overall pick in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) Draft, making Koelzer the first African American to be the top selection in the highest level of American professional hockey.

During the 2018 season, Koelzer led the Riveters to the NWHL Isobel Cup Championship and was named Co-MVP of the 2018 NWHL All-Star game.  

In addition to her playing background, Koelzer has previously coached including three years with the Princeton Hockey Youth Camps and a summer with the National Collegiate Development Camp in 2017. Koelzer also serves on the NHL/NHLPA Female Hockey Advisory Committee, a group formed to accelerate the growth of female hockey in North America and ensure that girls experience all the opportunities and benefits that the sport provides.

In 2016 Koelzer was featured in a New York Times story, Two Black Women Embrace Their Chance to Be Hockey Role Models.

Photo: Arcadia University